Exam Life: Eat, Sleep and Exercise
Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.
The revision routine can often feel monotonous, and will leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated if you don’t switch things up.
It’s really important that you take care of yourself, so that you can stay focused as your exams approach. Here are a few easy ways to do just that!
1. Get plenty of sleep
- Getting into bed at 10pm and getting at least 8 hours’ sleep will work wonders when you wake up to revise the next day. If you’re usually a night-owl, kick this habit and get into a more productive sleep cycle.
- Be consistent with your sleep pattern and get used to waking up early, so that when it comes to your 9am morning exams, you’ll be used to getting up at 7am. The last thing you want is to be heading into school bleary-eyed on the day of your exam because you struggled to get out of bed.
- Impose a ‘no screens’ rule at least half an hour before you go to bed. Put down your devices and read a book or listen to a podcast instead. This will improve your sleep dramatically by ensuring you switch off properly after a long day’s revision.
- Try not to drink any coffee after lunch, as caffeine doesn’t do much to help you focus or relax. You want to get to a point where your body is well-rested and balanced enough to function at a high level on its own, without the help of anti-fatigue stimulants such as caffeine.
2. Eat well
When revising it can be tempting to snack on lots of tasty foods that aren’t doing you any good. You deserve a treat every now and then, but eating too much of the wrong things will slow you down and leave you with less energy to work with!
- Eat three square meals with healthy snacks in between to boost energy levels and your immune system. We recommend plenty of vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, wholegrain cereals and bars, low GI carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, lentils, beans and porridge) and plenty of fruit and yogurt if you fancy something sweet.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and processed or junk food. If you have to ask yourself whether or not it’s healthy, it probably isn’t.
- The best treat? A few square of dark chocolate won’t go amiss, as small quantities of cocoa are in fact an antioxidant and have been shown to improve brain function.
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3. Make time to exercise
- Find a sport you enjoy, and make time to do it. This is as important as revising, as the break away from the desk will leave you motivated and relaxed when you sit down to do more studying.
- Exercise, even walking, will let you forget about revision for a little while and help you burn off excess energy. You can only sit and look at a page of notes for so long.
- Exercise is also amazing for your mental health, as endorphins make you feel great and increased fitness levels will boost confidence. There’s no reason not to go for it!